7 Reasons Google’s Pixel 3 Is Better Than Your iPhone

I’ve been #TeamApple since it launched a smartphone. I’ve owned nearly every generation of iPhones and adored them all, but the Pixel 3 is the first phone that makes me consider throwing away the Apple. Sure, Google’s new to the phone hardware game, but the third iteration is a damn fine one. Here, seven reasons why the Pixel 3 is better than the iPhone, and one reason it’s not.


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The Pixel’s Camera Is Stellar

There’s a single camera on the Pixel 3, but it’s 12.2-megapixel beauty with a f/1.8 lens that snaps seriously gorgeous shots, especially when the Pixel Visual Core chip helps with the processing. Pictures on the Pixel 3 are sharper, even though the zoom is digital and not optical, and there’s more detail coming out of the shadows than with my iPhone X. Selfie mode gets a wide-angle that can actually capture your entire group.

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Google

The evolution of Google’s software means you’re getting more from the camera than on prior Pixel generations. For example, there’s Top Shot, which automatically selects the ideal image from your photo bursts; there’s Super Res Zoom, a digital option that helps reduce hand-shaking; Night Sight, which launches soon, helps brighten dark settings; Portrait Mode adjustment, to help dial in the bokeh before or after image capture; Photo Booth, which aids in automatically capturing smiling selfies; and so much more. Typically, camera options are newfangled toys that lose luster after a few tepid uses. I found myself using a bunch of these repeatedly, given how front and center Google made them.

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Google’s Playground App Is Addictive

This allows you to drop and drag augmented reality (AR) characters and stickers directly into your camera. It’s really neat to tap on a spot and have Iron Man land in your screen. There’s no dearth of sticker and AR packs to add in from Google’s Play ecosystem, either. The best part? The AR characters and stickers will react to you in live-time. Smile during your selfie and Iron Man will notice and point in approval. The Shiba Inu pup in Playmoji never gets old, though I’m sure all the folks I texted from my tester Pixel might disagree.

Call Screening Is A Gift From The Gods

Because we’re at a point societally where actually talking to another human being on the phone has somehow morphed into this terrifying proposition, Google’s Call Screen feature will help heaps of people continue to avoid hearing another’s voice unless they absolutely want to. I jest, as the attribute is actually aimed at pesky telemarketers. The gist: a number you don’t recognize blinks up, you tap a button and Google Assistant picks up, alerts the other party of the screening, asks who is calling and why, live-transcribes the response and allows you to pick up or push to voicemail.

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Google

The caller hears the following: “Hi, the person you’re calling is using a screening service from Google, and will get a copy of this conversation. Go ahead and say your name and why you’re calling.” You can even add the number into a blocked list so it won’t ring through in the future. I love this so hard.

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Google Assistant Is Truly Helpful

It’s honestly what Siri should be. It understands you far better, far more often, has a better sense of your intent, and can sync up to control a not-insignificant portion of your home and life. Because the Android network and Google ecosystem is more open about adding third-party smart devices to the fray, you can just announce your wishes and Google Assistant can likely help complete the task. Whether that’s securing a restaurant reservation, helping you settle a bet about which actor was in that movie, or preparing your home for bed by adjusting temperatures, dimming lights and locking doors, the AI at play here is extremely impressive.

Charging Is Fast, Fun, and Functional

There’s a $79 Pixel Stand which wirelessly charges your phone, even through a thick case, at an absurdly fast rate. You can get back to 75 percent charge in under 20 minutes, which is wonderful for when you’ve come home after work, and realize you’re nearly out of juice but have to run out for the night soon. If you’re thinking that $79 is steep for a wireless charger, Google agreed, which is why the Stand is packed with added features that make it fully worth the spend.

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Google

When your Pixel 3 is on there, the whole kit and caboodle turns into a Google Home Hub, essentially. The screen can turn into a digital photo frame, cycling through your best pictures. Say “Hey Google,” and use Google Assistant to control everything from your Nest thermostat, to your Chromecast, to your music, to your smart locks on your front door. You can even automate your screen to go fully black when you shut off the lights for bed. A forthcoming feature called Sunrise Alarm purports to gradually increase brightness on the OLED screen of your Pixel to mimic a real sunrise, 15 minutes before your alarm is set for.

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Google Lens Is Great

This feature isn’t new, but it’s now baked into the Camera app. Lens, simplified, is AI-enabled technology that uses your camera to identify and give you useful context surrounding what you’re aiming at. For example, aim your Pixel 3’s camera at a rose and Google Assistant can identify the type of flower, as well as suggest florists nearby. Or train the lens at a photo of Donald Glover on a billboard and you’ll be met with info about the man as well as content recommendations for his work. It’ll translate or understand text selections, help you shop by telling you who makes the exact shirt you snap, or offering up similar options, and generally let you search your surroundings, including buildings, cars, and even reviews of films on advertisements.

Digital Wellbeing Helps You Disconnect

Phone addiction is an issue that manufacturers are working hard to help curb. Apple has Screen Time, which gives you an overview on phone usage. Google’s Wellbeing does the same, but lets you go a step further and help train you to use your phone less. The dashboard of Wellbeing is clean and easy to navigate, showing you precisely how long you’ve spent staring at Instagram, how many times a day you check your phone and more. You can then enact things like Timer, which puts a clock on the amount daily usage per app and, when time expires, asks you to shut that app down. Wind Down is another option which aims to help you to get better sleep. Drop in a time and your phone will automatically shut off notifications and turn greyscale, making it less fun to engage with. You can still use your phone, but there’s less blue light hitting your eyes. Come morning, your OLED returns to full color and your hidden notifications will come streaming in.


So should you buy the new Pixel 3? If you’re considering any other Android option, yes. One thousand percent, yes. The Pixel 3 is the best Android phone available today. If you’re debating ditching the iPhone for a Pixel, that answer is a little murkier. The Pixel outperforms the iPhone in plenty of arenas, but switch devices and you’ll be turning those blue iMessage chats to green. iMessage is still a vastly superior chat platform, especially when put up against SMS, and many Apple fans don’t want to leave it behind.

The Pixel 3, from $799 and up, is a giant leap forward for Google and the Android phone market and before you pick up your next device, you should at least get your hands on the Pixel 3 first.

Buy It Now

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